Western Leaders Privately Say Ukraine Can’t Win the War

The German and French leaders have told Ukraine they must seek peace with Russia in exchange for a post-war defense pact, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. 

Élysée Palace where Macron and Scholz told Zelensky to seek peace. (U.S. State Dept.)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Western leaders privately told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Ukraine can not win the war against Russia and that it should begin peace talks with Moscow this year in exchange for closer ties with NATO. 

The private communications are at odds with public statements from Western leaders who routinely say they will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes until it achieves victory on the battlefield. 

The Wall Street Journal, which reported on the private remarks to Zelenksy, said:

“The public rhetoric masks deepening private doubts among politicians in the U.K., France and Germany that Ukraine will be able to expel the Russians from eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014, and a belief that the West can only help sustain the war effort for so long, especially if the conflict settles into a stalemate, officials from the three countries say.

‘We keep repeating that Russia mustn’t win, but what does that mean? If the war goes on for long enough with this intensity, Ukraine’s losses will become unbearable,’ a senior French official said. ‘And no one believes they will be able to retrieve Crimea.’

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Zelensky at an Élysée Palace dinner earlier this month that he must consider peace talks with Moscow, the Journal reported.

According to its source, the newspaper quoted Macron as telling Zelensky that “even mortal enemies like France and Germany had to make peace after World War II.”

Macron told Zelensky “he had been a great war leader, but that he would eventually have to shift into political statesmanship and make difficult decisions,” the newspaper reported.   

A Return to Realism

Macron at the Munich Security Conference last week. (Kuhlmann/MSC)

At the Munich Security Conference last week, Gen. Petr Pavel, the Czech Republic’s president-elect and a former NATO commander, said:

“We may end up in a situation where liberating some parts of Ukrainian territory may deliver more loss of lives than will be bearable by society. … There might be a point when Ukrainians can start thinking about another outcome.”

Even when he was a NATO commander Pavel was a realist in regard to Russia. During controversial NATO war games with 31,000 troops on Russia’s borders in 2016 — the first time in 75 years that German troops had retraced the steps of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union — Pavel dismissed hype about a Russian threat to NATO. 

Pavel, who was chairman of NATO’s military committee at the time, told a Brussels press conference that, “It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing.”  

The German foreign minister at the time, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, now Germany’s president, also embraced realism towards Russia, saying: “What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering. Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is mistaken.”

Instead of an aggressive NATO stance towards Russia that could backfire, Steinmeier called for dialogue with Moscow. “We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation,” he said, adding it would be “fatal to search only for military solutions and a policy of deterrence.” Under U.S. leadership NATO clearly did not follow that advice, as it continued to deploy more troops to Eastern Europe and to arm and train Ukraine (under cover of pretending to back the Minsk Accords to end the Ukrainian civil war).

Before its intervention in Ukraine, Russia cited NATO’s eastward expansion, the deployment of missiles in Romania and Poland, war games near its borders and the arming of Ukraine as red lines that the West had crossed. 

After a year of war, Western leaders appear now to be turning to a realist approach. Macron, for instance, at the Munich Security Conference dismissed any talk of regime change in Moscow. 

 No US Reaction

Left to Right: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at Munich Security Conference. (Schulmann/MSC)

Washington has not commented on the Journal‘s story about the peace talks-for-arms proposal. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month discussed with The Washington Post arming Ukraine post-war but he did not say that Ukraine should seek peace talks.

“We have to be thinking — and we are — about what the postwar future looks like to ensure that we have security and stability for Ukrainians and security and stability in Europe,” Blinken told the conference in Munich.

The proposal to bring Ukraine even closer to NATO than it already is, with greater access to weapons after the war, should be on the agenda at NATO’s annual meeting in July, said Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, at the Munich conference.

“The NATO summit must produce a clear offer to Ukraine, also to give Zelensky a political win that he can present at home as an incentive for negotiations,” a British official told the Journal. 

The deal with NATO would not include membership with its Article 5 protection, the newspaper reported. “We would like to have security guarantees on the path to NATO,” Zelensky told a press conference on Friday, however.

In the meantime, Macron, according to the WSJ report, said that Ukraine should press forward with a military offensive to regain territory in order to push Moscow to the peace table. 

There has been no reaction from Moscow about the proposal. Geo-political analyst Alexander Mercouris, in his video report on Saturday, said Russia would likely be incentivized to continue fighting rather than enter peace talks with the knowledge that Ukraine would be heavily armed by NATO after the war.   

“The Russians are never going to agree with something like this,” Mercouris said. “They must be saying to themselves that instead of agreeing to this plan, it actually makes more sense … to continue this war because one of [Russia’s] objectives is the total demilitarization of Ukraine.”

What the Western powers are proposing is the opposite, he said. Given that Russia considers it is winning and “there seems to be a general acknowledgment amongst Western governments that Ukraine can’t win this war … where is the incentive for … Russia to even consider this plan?”

For Moscow, Mercouris said, Ukraine’s demilitarization is an “absolute, existential matter.”  If Ukraine is going to get even more advanced weapons from NATO after the war as opposed to what it would get “whilst the war is still underway, then it makes even less sense” for Russia “to stop the war and agree to this plan.” 

Russia is facing a “weakening adversary now,” Mercouris said, and Moscow clearly prefers that to facing a “strengthened adversary later.”  

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  


77 comments for “Western Leaders Privately Say Ukraine Can’t Win the War

  1. Eric
    February 27, 2023 at 19:41

    “French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Zelensky at an Élysée Palace dinner earlier this month that he must consider peace talks with Moscow.”

    However, Zelensky’s master is in Washington.

    • Atruist
      February 28, 2023 at 11:31

      As is the master of Scholz and Macron – they all report to the same people.
      I think it’s either “good cop / bad cop” or just talk for domestic political consumption on the part of Macron and Scholz.

  2. robert e williamson jr
    February 27, 2023 at 18:20

    I suggest the very negative nature, that anti-social bias of many psychopaths is the motivation for abhorrent reasoning. their minds simply don’t function in an acceptable fashion.

    I found this little nugget today while working on figuring out why the U.S. foreign policy staff are so consistently highly exercised and agitated with anyone or entity disagreeing with the neocon take on reality.

    “Though psychiatrists often treat sociopaths and psychopaths and -criminologists*- treat them different because because of the difference in their outward behavior.”

    Everyone who desires we move away from a petty, vindictive, self-serving , egotistical foreign policy may benefit from visiting Diffen site which touts one can compare two of anything there.

    from: hXXpts://www.diffen.com/difference/Psychopath_vs_Sociopath

    So it seems to make plenty of sense to me, the inmates, those who should be institutionalized for their thoughts, are running the ” asylum, er . . .uh,mmm,” that is the countries foreign policy.

    A move that would be most beneficial to all would be the immediate release those convicted whistle blowers and other patriots these people have persecuted and jailed for no reason.

    As for the Cynic’s take on their hypocrisy , you have it almost right Sir, but these peoples hypocrisy can be traced to mental defects. Badly reasoned assembled thoughts reflecting erroneous perceptions. In short, apparently, they are not fit for their jobs.

    Regardless they need to go!

    Thanks CN

  3. HelenB
    February 27, 2023 at 15:04

    Now we all know that the US can’t wing the war. But, so what!
    We are in this war:
    1) To sell weapons, win more contracts for our big weapon makers!
    2) To weaken Europe.
    3) To weaken Russia so then we can go after China.

    Well, we did great with 1 and 2. Not so great with 3.
    Big questions remain:
    Should we continue on course while we weaken ourselves at the same time?
    Dangerous but likely answer: Why not? Nobody’s there to stop us.

    • vinnieoh
      February 28, 2023 at 15:50

      And thus, HelenB you have encapsulated in your last sentences exactly what was done during the GW Bush (first) term. Basically, they said to all and sundry: “If you don’t like what we’re doing, then stop us!” And no-one did. Many (like me and many others here, who would have if we could) understood, but we have no real voice, no agency, and if we did, then we’d also have a target on our backs. Witness what has been attempted recently against Joe Lauria and CN, and what yet may befall Sy Hersh (please be safe, sir.) The GW Bush administration (with the tacit approval of most all of the US political class) gave the whole world the finger, the bird.

      Yes, yes, yes, follow the money; If one is ideologically obsessed, then it takes power to force that ideology on those that will not accept it willingly, and the surest way to power is through fabulous, unimaginable wealth (this per Reinhold Niebuhr.) Yes, follow the money, it will lead to the truth and the culprits, those amongst our race – the only race, the human race – who represent the terminal cancer of our species.

  4. Ray Knowles
    February 27, 2023 at 14:42

    If the war in Ukraine continues, it like France in WW one, will have lost a whole generation of its young people. And for what? Because US/NATO is fighting the war in Ukraine as a means to degrade Russia. What a high price Ukraine is paying to do US/NATO’s bidding.

  5. SH
    February 27, 2023 at 13:48

    “even mortal enemies like France and Germany had to make peace after World War II.”

    Made peace – after Germany surrendered – Russia will not “surrender”
    The “conditions” for “negotiations” as others have laid out – include “closer ties with NATO” on Russia’s borders, which has been a non-starter for Russia from the beginning

    “The public rhetoric masks deepening private doubts among politicians in the U.K., France and Germany that Ukraine will be able to expel the Russians from eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014, and a belief that the West can only help sustain the war effort for so long, especially if the conflict settles into a stalemate, officials from the three countries say.”

    What i think has been lost in the conversation is that the US, from sanctions to weapons, never intended to “beat Russia” but only to “weaken it” – as somebody said, to give Russia another Afghanistan – so we will continue to urge Zelensky to not negotiate an end – because settling into a “stalemate”, which means the fighting will continue sporadically perpetually, slowly bleeding both Ukraine and Russia – is just fine with the US …

    Zelensky is an actor – and this role is the best one he has ever had – the longer we continue to give him a stage, the biggest one he has ever had, and good “reviews”, “You are brave and courageous, Vol, fighting the good fight for peace and justice in the ‘American’ way”, he will keep reading his lines and the bloodshed and destruction will continue “over there”- as Americans shed no blood while Ukrainians continue to suffer and die and their country to disintegrate …

  6. robert e williamson jr
    February 27, 2023 at 12:20

    Several times during the rein of the King of Fools, Trump, I posited my belief that the U.S. would suffer greatly form having an undeniably weak and incompetent leader. One who at every turn seemed hell bent on destroying any credibility the U.S. Government enjoyed, which wasn’t and isn’t much in knowledgable circles.

    I happen to think I was spot-on. U.S. influence has and is suffering from a severe case of denial by it’s leadership and it is clear for everyone to see at this point.

    The D.C. crowd immersed in the putrid make-believe environs of the swamp seemed to hardly notice or care about what the remainder of those on the planet must have been thinking. This is going to change, better or worse for us, it will and is changing.

    Since the very beginnings of the difficulties in Ukraine, not much of anything made much sense to me and many others. I claimed all along the situation in the Ukraine could have and should have been handled much differently. Oh, if not for the neocon diseased brain!

    I will now point to the damage those in favor of this pursuit of total hegemony by the U.S. has wrought in Russia, Ukraine , and the surrounding countries and remind everyone one that “pay back time” is coming shortly.

    Now we will learn the damage our country has suffered on the world stage in just one short year of pursuing a ludicrous plan of regime change. Hopefully it will end the horrid nation “building” run those claiming justification of U.S. national security interests have used to exploit their authority for the sake of the US Dollar.

    It will not be pretty. Most who write in here don’t need to be told this, we knew, so what is up with our leadership? If we can figure these things out and so readily see the insanity and inhuman results why is it our “leadership” does the opposite?

    No pleasant answer exists for this question. One terrifying prospect does exist, our leaders want total authority to pursue their own agendas. As far as I can determine presently that will not be a good look for any of the rest of us.

    Thanks CN

    • forceOfHabit
      February 27, 2023 at 23:29

      “Several times during the rein of the King of Fools, Trump, I posited my belief that the U.S. would suffer greatly form having an undeniably weak and incompetent leader.”

      You mean Biden?

      • robert e williamson jr
        February 28, 2023 at 12:54

        There is no real difference my friend.

  7. LeoSun
    February 27, 2023 at 11:55

    One year later, the deception, destruction, death, in UKRAINE, thrives; and, France & Germany show up, “bust’n Volodymyr “El Chapo” Zelensky’s chops” aka facilitating an OVERDUE Intervention.

    A face to face w/the “IDOLATRY” of the UNSC’s TV’s personalities, 1) Volodymyr “The Comedian” Zelensky, 2)“Murder King,” by Mr. Fish, 3) MSMedia & Cable Network’s News $hows. Those f/up personalities have always captured the minds and the hearts of the masses. This is how their actions are able to move forward, under the guise of good will. (hxxps://consortiumnews.com/2023/02/22/chris-hedges-smashing-the-idols-of-war/)

    BUT, negotiating w/a Comedian, whose major skill set is FundRai$ing for perpetual war?!? UKRAINE is f/jones’n to be a NATO member. NATO rejects that idea. UKRAINE is a “PARTNER” in Crimes against animal, plant & human life. It’s f/universal. It’s NOT a good look.

    Follows are the steps, a Peacemaker, imo, would take to End The Clown Show:

    1. US/NATO Member$hip & Ukraine’ drop “The Morning After” pill, ABORTING the US/NATO vs. Russia war in Ukraine;
    2. MANDATE Ukraine be the FIRST, Non-NATO Member to RESOLVE To Save The Planet NOT Nuke It!!! UKRAINE, becomes a Signatory to: “A Plan to Save the Planet, ”developed by Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research & The Network of Research Institutes.”
    3. LEAD, knowing, “ORGANIZED POWER FROM BELOW is the only power that can save us. Politics is a game of fear. It is our duty to make those in power very, very afraid.” CHRIS HEDGES, Rock’n a Resolution @ The Rally Against The War Machine!

    Therefore, “WANTED, A LEADER!!! A Peacemaker NOT “The Big Guy,” PUTIN “pegged as an unreconstructed warmonger and longtime advocate of NATO expansion, someone who’d act on his madness.”

    IM MARCH, 2022, China’s Foreign Ministry’s advice to BIDEN-HARRIS: “He who ties the bell around the tiger; Needs to untie it.” Chop. Chop!!!

    A final questions, WHEN “The Big Guy” finally proves too obviously dementia-addled and truth-challenged” is ‘That Little Girl ’gonna “Save the Planet?!?” Who’d a thunk “we” would be in such dire straits? Ciao

  8. February 27, 2023 at 10:47

    The West has really screwed itself by not negotiating earlier as Russia has no trust in the West now and is in a position to dictate the terms it wants.

    The big question now is: NATO having failed inUkraine are they going to crank up the pressure on China and lose there again ?

    NATO has yet to learn that fighting off shore wars halfway around the world is a fool’s folly.

    • WillD
      February 27, 2023 at 19:38

      NATO has yet to learn that even after 8 years preparing Ukraine to fight, it still wasn’t good enough against a ‘real’ enemy. So what hope does it have against any enemy, except for the West’s usual much much weaker target countries?

  9. Jamie Aliperti
    February 27, 2023 at 10:44

    I am a bit confused. At the outbreak of the war, Zelensky seemed more than willing to negotiate but was told in no uncertain terms by the West — in particular, by Boris Johnson during his visit to Kiev while Prime Minister — that Western aid would stop if he did so. Now Macron et al. are trying to convince Zelensky of the need for a negotiated settlement? Isn’t it the West, i.e., the United States, that needs convincing?

    • Dfnslblty
      February 27, 2023 at 12:51

      No need for confusion; it was never Ukraine’s war to fight.

      Stop Wars!

      Protest Loudly.

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    February 27, 2023 at 10:07

    Only utter fools would believe the US can ‘subdue’ Russia and China. And it is these fools who are taking us to the brink of world war. Good going, guys!

  11. Me Myself
    February 27, 2023 at 00:26

    World leaders are getting the message! Miley Cyrus “We Did Stop” Song said it best regarding US hegemony “Shut It Down!”

    • Dfnslblty
      February 27, 2023 at 12:55

      Western & Otan are indeed hearing the opposition; they are not — repeat not getting the message.
      They are blinded by $$$ & the fantasy of power …

  12. Carl Harris
    February 26, 2023 at 22:41

    Western thinking on this subject continues to be delusional. Mercouris is right, of course, that everything ‘the west’ has come up with so far lacks any incentive for Russia to accept it. This, like the war itself, is a symptom of the endemic solipsism that defines the Washington consensus.

    Every entity with agency of its own will be animated implicitly, and perhaps explicitly, by the simple formula: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). A participant that cannot take this into account will continue to blunder.

  13. Anon
    February 26, 2023 at 19:39

    Tnx CN, Joe… Truthtelling is becoming a Rare Commodity these Perilous Times.
    Ironic, US govt policy Step ‘n Fetch of political corruption… & genuine disconnect from American Cit Generosity of Spirit.
    Sadly US Empire is betraying the interests of our primary allies since WWII as well… at behest of a couple of business categories actually minor employers in comparison to say consumer product sales.
    Step ‘n Fetch passed along… as Multiplied through $$$ + Power Games!

  14. Alan
    February 26, 2023 at 19:12

    The idea that Russia would accept a re-militarized Ukraine after the war is absurd, but it is the sort of thinking we have come to expect from delusional western leaders. They simply cannot accept defeat at the hands of the Russian Bear. To fully grasp the absurdity, consider this: At the end of World War II, would the Allies have approved of rearming Germany or Japan? Of course they would not, but that is essentially what is being proposed for Russia with respect to Ukraine. If those are the conditions for peace, then this war will continue until Ukraine is destroyed completely.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      February 26, 2023 at 20:11

      Actually Churchill wanted to rearm Germany right after the war.


      • Rafael
        February 27, 2023 at 00:44

        Very interesting! But not at all unexpected. It is yet another instance of “deconstructing the obvious”, to borrow Seymour Hersh’s words in reference to his reporting on the Nordstream bombing.

        • Robert Sinuhe
          February 27, 2023 at 10:31

          Churchill was a war monger. He served his purpose in WWII and was shelved aside at its conclusion.

          • Alan
            February 27, 2023 at 13:38

            Churchill has to be a finalist for the “Most Overrated Leader of the Twentieth Century” award. He was a warmonger, a racist and a drunk. Other than the ability to deliver stirring speeches, his role in the war effort involved a great deal of amateurish meddling in military decision-making that was not appreciated by his own general staff.

            • Rafael
              February 28, 2023 at 01:16

              But we shouldn’t underrate his compassionate side:

              “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses…”

      • Altruist
        February 27, 2023 at 12:50

        Really very interesting.
        Churchill was a warmonger, but was capable of strategic thought.
        Wonder how the denazification of Germany would have worked out if the German army (not the most integral part of the Nazi regime, although significantly “Nazified”, especially after the execution of the 1944 conspirators) had seamlessly moved from fighting all the Allies to fighting the Soviets.

      • Alan
        February 27, 2023 at 13:21

        Joe, you’re right, and Churchill wanted a rearmed Germany to fight the Soviet Union—again. Of course, Churchill was outvoted, and I’m fairly confident that the German people would have had little appetite for such madness. The most generous thing one can say about Churchill is that he was probably drunk.

  15. Renate
    February 26, 2023 at 17:47

    As always a great article by Joe Lauria. What is really outstanding to me is the deception of the Western politicians, and the inability of Macron and Scholz to tell Zelensky in no uncertain terms to face the reality.
    They should have the courage to tell Biden he is on his own, they had enough. What can Biden do, he blew up the pipeline already, and using troops to force the allies to support his stupidity will not solve anything. Biden and his neocon advisers have trapped themselves, so how many more young men must be killed before they come to their senses, there is nothing left to win. Ukraine is rubble and millions have left their country to never return. Just another big blunder of neocon politics.

    • Billy Field
      February 27, 2023 at 15:59

      Yes Joe is terrific, cheers! My view ATM is folks need to stop chatting about “politicians” & “reports”, the decisions are coming from far higher up the food chain than “politics” & MSM pundits. These folks are by & large all bought or sacked. Also, about all the organs of Govt are infiltrated with “the string pullers” shills. The fact is the warmongers “pulling stings” will continue to murder millions (& millions, & millions) with total impunity & keep the wars going incessantly because they control public opinion with finance behind the scenes & are laughing all the way to the bank…they ruthlessly target & destroy dissenters… they gain profits most everywhere and it is mostly from robbing the public purse. They also plunder & profit from the “reconstruction” & private ownerships of territory the gain control of via proxie Govt’s, and most importantly, they expand the footprint of “the western central banking cabal”. They also control the criminals they put in to run the rackets IMF & WB. Control of western central banks allows some access to the unlimited creation of capital & currency at almost zero interest rates. Perhaps we need to start pointing the finger at the real “problem people”.

  16. Valerie
    February 26, 2023 at 17:41

    “Western Leaders Privately Say Ukraine Can’t Win the War”

    I think this would be a more appropriate headline:

    Western MSM Subliminally Say Ukraine Can’t Win the War.

  17. Tony
    February 26, 2023 at 16:36

    Yesterday’s Guardian listed 5 ways that the war could end.

    A sixth possibility, the nuclear destruction of the planet, is not mentioned.

    It quotes James Nixey, Russia expert at the Chatham House think tank, who makes this interesting and highly significant observation:

    “Even if Putin were to be unexpectedly ousted, it is far from obvious that any successor would want to withdraw from Ukraine.”

    • David McIntosh
      February 26, 2023 at 22:52

      A 7th scenario might be, NATO leaders who signed off on their joint statement of Feb.24, 2022, in which they characterised Russia’s invasion as “unprovoked,” acknowledge the West’s pre-Feb.24 provocations. This should improve the chances of honest, and therefore successful, negotiations for ceasefire/peace. (I don’t know where this would fall on the likelihood scale, but I’d place it at the top of the preferability scale.)

    • Carl Z
      February 27, 2023 at 15:54


  18. vinnieoh
    February 26, 2023 at 16:06

    Plainly and simply stated, thanks Joe L. for this short but powerful situation report. By all the same reasonings, The US cannot take its foot of the gas now, because Ukraine has nothing to show but dead soldiers, ruined habitat, and descent into ‘failed-state’ status for its acceptance of the role as Uncle’s proxy/gambit. Ukrainians should be asking “and this is helping us how, exactly?” Real Americans know that YOU are fighting them over THERE so WE don’t have to fight them over HERE. I have always wondered if the 9/11 hijackers actually believed they were doing a good thing for their homelands; that they did not know they were being played into being the instruments of their own culture’s destruction?

    • michael mullins
      February 26, 2023 at 20:21

      How can Russia EVER, trust the West, especially any Washington regime, for what Russia has experienced for decades.

      For too long Russia ( Putin ) has trusted ,the Empire of Lies.

      Even any agreement signed by Washington ,can never be trusted, unless there is a complete regime change in Washington.

      • Alan
        February 27, 2023 at 13:51

        Which is why Putin must be falling down laughing at the proposal that Ukraine should be rearmed after the war. Such rearming could never be trusted as having a peaceful purpose. Henceforth, the only things that Russia will trust with regard to the west are facts on the ground. Treaties, promises and pledges—no way.

  19. Lois Gagnon
    February 26, 2023 at 15:50

    Russia has been given no incentive to negotiate based on Washington’s long list of betrayals. They have learned their lesson. Plus, they have prepared themselves to withstand whatever tactics the NATO countries use to weaken them.

    At some point, the populations of Washington’s vassals will make their political class too uncomfortable to continue following orders. That is the point the handwriting on the wall will be impossible for the narcissistic rulers in DC and on Wall Street to ignore. The US will be isolated and reviled by civilized humanity. Not to mention broke. All we can do is try to prevent them pushing the button.

    • John K Leslie
      February 26, 2023 at 17:14

      Spot on, Lois. One thing is certain: Russia will win this thing and there will be no “negotiations”. Of course, Washington will find a way to convince its indolent, gullible public that the campaign was successful, as indeed it was for MIC. Not to worry, the warmongers already have plans to keep Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop, Raytheon and others busy. Where next? Taiwan, Iran, Serbia, Venezuela, Nicaragua?

      • Valerie
        February 26, 2023 at 17:56

        I think they have it in for the Moon and Mars too. (And unsuspecting asteroids with the audacity to come near our planet.)

      • Billy Field
        February 27, 2023 at 16:18

        Seems mostly the purpose is not to win the wars it is just to keep them going (& the vv few profit in the process) ..don’t care how many they kill…one “intervention” gets put down the memory hole by the distraction moving on to the next..that is if we even ae told where…Gore Vidal said “USA stands for United States of Amnesia”

  20. bardamu
    February 26, 2023 at 15:00

    How long a leash is Zelensky on, really?

    • Valerie
      February 26, 2023 at 17:04

      It’s not the leash which should be considered; it’s the muzzle. (Think about it.)

    • Henry Smith
      February 27, 2023 at 04:30

      Zelensky, the fool that he is, has dug himself into a hole where the only way out is victory or death. He may be able to flee with his riches but he knows too much to be allowed to enjoy them.

  21. February 26, 2023 at 14:31

    Minsk 3? Former German chancellor Angela Merkel let the cat out the bag. She admitted that Minsk 2 was used by her government to buy time for Ukraine to build up it military strength and continue striking against Donbass. (Dei Zeit, and Der Spiegel, December 2022)

  22. Hank
    February 26, 2023 at 14:09

    the west, nato the USA whatever, essentially groomed, trained, promised to arm people who they knew had a deep and fanatical blind hatred of Russians, and in the process orchestrated the destruction of an entire country and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands. After Iraq and Afghanistan, now this? Not only should Neocons never be allowed anywhere near the levers of power again, they should be tried for war crimes.

    • gcw919
      February 27, 2023 at 11:58

      Indeed, one of the perplexing mysteries is how these Neocons keep resurfacing, no matter how disastrous their ‘policies’ have been in the past. It seems the greater their failures, the faster they reappear (witness Victoria Nuland, among many).

      • Billy Field
        February 27, 2023 at 16:22

        The “neocons” are merely the fraudulent lying salespeople for the profiteers…a front….& v evil to boot

      • Michael
        February 28, 2023 at 11:11

        there is no mystery.

        we “elect” them.*

        (*they quite literally own and operate the electoral system, completely controlling access.)

    • Dfnslblty
      February 27, 2023 at 13:01

      Agreed, Hank.

      Protest Loudly!

  23. shmutzoid
    February 26, 2023 at 13:50

    By now, Putin knows (I hope) not to trust one word coming from the US/NATO. And, such a deal!——–> Russia to abide by greater Ukraine/NATO cooperation?? …….No, Russia needs to put a swift and decisive end the hostilities with overwhelming force. Zelensky needs to beg for negotiations. This will, in the end, save more lives than the long protracted war the US desires.
    ………. The broad strokes of the regional plan for stability put forth by Putin in Dec. 2021 were quite reasonable. —-> Donbas to be autonomous – a sorta’ DMZ …………..Crimea remains part of Russia…………….. No NATO for Ukraine. Russia might have to let go of its initial SMO plans to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine. I don’t see how this can be implemented without controlling the whole of Ukraine.

  24. lester
    February 26, 2023 at 12:56

    Will Uki Nazis (Azov Regiment, and others) allow Zelensky to negotiate? Will the USA?

    I hope the Zelensky family keeps bags packed, ready to flee at a moment’s notice.

  25. Marvelous
    February 26, 2023 at 11:53

    “where is the incentive for … Russia to even consider this plan?””

    It is worse than that. Where is the incentive for Russia to even negotiate with ‘the west’?

    They’ve been down that road before, and in recent times. They reached a deal in the Minsk agreements, which were supposed to provide a path towards a peaceful resolution, with Ukraine granting some autonomy and rights to the people of Donetsk and Luhansk. Yet, we now see and hear that the western leaders of that time are all now openly admitting and even bragging that all of the Minsk agreements were a sham that the west never had any plan to actually implement. That it was all a trick and a stall so the west could pump Ukraine full of weapons and so we could provide NATO training to the Azov force. That the plan behind the previous Minsk Agreements was really always to kill Russians and dismember Russia. The West now brags about this.

    Where is the incentive for the Russians to now believe that the West is actually going to keep an agreement? Would it not be logical for the Russians to be referring to the classic story by an American and about Americans known as “Charlie Brown, Lucy and The Football?”

    What does a nation do when it is already thrown away all credibility and trust, when the nation has proudly proclaimed to the world that “We Lie! We Cheat! We Steal!”, but now needs to negotiate the end of a war that it is losing? Adolf and Eva found their answer with a loaded pistol in a Berlin bunker as the People’s Army approached. Can Uncle Sam find a different solution? Nations used to value credibility and trust for good reason, and Uncle Sam is in the process of learning why this was always so.

    If you sat a negotiating table with Blinken and Biden, would you believe a word that they say? Why?

    • DMCP
      February 26, 2023 at 12:19

      Fine. But every war ends in some sort of negotiation, so why not begin negotiating now?

      • Valerie
        February 26, 2023 at 14:38

        Tell that to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

        • bardamu
          February 26, 2023 at 14:52

          They might have preferred negotiation.

        • John K Leslie
          February 26, 2023 at 17:21

          The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was intended not to end the war, but as a signal to the USSR that “this is what awaits you”. I wonder how many people realize that?

          • Valerie
            February 26, 2023 at 18:09

            It is also said that the pilots of the planes dropping the bombs had no idea what they were unleashing. Either way it is a heinous, despicable act.

          • Robert Sinuhe
            February 27, 2023 at 13:32

            I think it’s general knowledge John or it should be. Japan signaled feelers in Switzerland to start negotiations to end the war, particularly after Russia defeated their soldiers in Manchuria. The horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not only a signal to the Russians, which in the end was ineffectual, but a bellwether of our present predicament.

      • Henry Smith
        February 26, 2023 at 19:05

        Every war ends when someone wins and someone else loses, then the winners negotiate to decide how much the losers are going to be made to suffer for losing.
        Japan and Germany are still paying the price of their losing in WW2. Evidence suggests Russia will be less vindictive to the Ukraine than the West will be when this war finally ends.

        • Annie MCSTRAVICK
          February 27, 2023 at 10:37

          ?It’s rather odd to say that Germany paid a price for losing WWII, when it went on to become the economic powerhouse of Europe.

          • Henry Smith
            February 27, 2023 at 16:11

            Who controls the government ?
            Who controls the security services ?
            Who has a large military presence there ?
            As for Germany, so for Japan.
            It’s freedom Jim, but not as we know it.

      • Alan
        February 27, 2023 at 14:07

        One must distinguish between negotiations for peace and unconditional surrender. If Ukraine stays on its current path, the war will end with something closer to the latter than the former. Russia will dictate the terms, and Ukraine will accept them. What is yet to be determined is how much of Ukraine will be a wasteland and how many of its people will have died.

  26. Marvelous
    February 26, 2023 at 11:28

    Anyone who claims that the purpose of war is to pursue peace is a liar. The obvious purpose of those who choose war is war, not peace.

    Of course, everyone knows that in America, a politician can never lie. Therefore, we must believe that they pursue peace. Because we know that all of our leaders are honorable and honest and always act with only the best interests of the entire country in their mind and in their heart. Because we all believe in truth, justice, and the American way, and that SuperWoman will arrive to save the day just in the nick of time, because all of our modern myths tell us that this is so, and that CryptoCoinMite will never take away her incredible power, because even the notion that CryptoCoinMite can take away SuperWoman’s awesome powers is only evil Russian propaganda designed to dent our belief in the American Way.

  27. Millian
    February 26, 2023 at 11:19

    The Russian leadership would have to be very foolish to trust NATO and Ukraine without a demilitarized Ukraine.

  28. DD
    February 26, 2023 at 10:49

    The U.S oligarchs and the Europeans of all classes have never had parallel interests in this conflict. Germany, France and the U.K now have mass demonstrations in the streets which ultimately will be linked to this war. This “coalition” never had the possibility of a stable or enduring attachment. Before this conflict entered this stage (post February, 2022) Biden signaled and then carried out an overt act of war against his allies literally making Scholz and Macron traitors to their people in the most classic sense. (About two weeks before the invasion I sent an e-mail to friends/past cohorts saying Russia won’t invade/this will be settled because the interests of German industrialists will trump the blood lust of some Nazi gangs.) So here we are at this inevitable stage.

    The post 2014/15 Minsk stall period wasn’t only about digging fox holes in eastern Ukraine but organizing the NATO governments for this conflict. Germany and Finland immediately come to mind as well as the eviseration of Jeremy Corbyn. I read something about the requirement in Italy that coalitions have to be formed before the the election (and only one was formed) influencing that outcome. I suspect there were many realignments in other western governments. An analysis of our 2016 election as it pertains to to this war also has to be made.

  29. Henry Smith
    February 26, 2023 at 10:22

    “begin peace talks with Moscow this year in exchange for closer ties with NATO”. Do these people even understand the situation and the reason why Russia was forced into action ?
    NATO/USA is the problem. There will be no peace until these corrupt, warmongering nations move away from the Russian border. You want peace then f*ck off back to your little, corrupt, regimes and stop pushing for a war YOU cannot win.
    The West is happy to genocide the Ukrainians just so they can park their nukes on Russia’s border, sick beyond belief.

  30. Packard
    February 26, 2023 at 09:04

    What NATO and the EU would benefit most from is a mutually agreed upon demilitarized buffer zone in which the neutral parties stuck in the middle would strive to behave more like Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, and Hungary while trying very hard to be less like the more belligerent Poland, Latvia, and Estonia.

    Separating armed American F-16s from equally armed Russian Migs by even a few hundred miles of air space would certainly go a long way toward lowering the potential of accidental war errors. Then again, so too would not giving $100 billion in American military aid to Eastern European mice who insist on roaring daily at paranoid bears living right next door to them.

    [File under: Can’t we all just get along?]

  31. Cerena
    February 26, 2023 at 09:04

    Dear Mr. Lauria, thank you for your courageous reporting that brings the light of truth upon the stinky darkness of presstituting MSM.

    American Straussians (neo-conservatives) in the US State Department (and other important positions in the US government) will not stop until they are under personal mortal danger in the destroyed country of the US.
    The union of the main banking houses of the City of London (and the Federal Reserve) with multinational fascist corporations like BlackRock does nothing good for humanity. The dishonorable US brass is just that – the dishonorable profiteering and opportunistic appendix of the Financial Squid. As for the Straissians’ shamelessness and open exposure of genocidal tendencies, this needs to be addressed by the US citizenry now — before it is too late.

  32. Ed Rickert
    February 26, 2023 at 08:09

    The western position is riddled with contradictions. To acknowledge that Ukraine cannot win the war and then speak of NATO guarantees including rearming it doesn’t follow. The loser doesn’t dictate terms. Thanks for showing that western policy is impaled on the horns of a dilemma.

  33. TP Graf
    February 26, 2023 at 06:09

    As per usual, in my opinion, Mercouris hits the nail squarely on the head. Fantasy-land Blinken’s remarks at the UN this week continue to demonstrate the moronic level at which he and Team Biden operate. It is so pathetic and so potentially catastrophic. A week or two ago, Mercouris described their actions as putting us on the escalating escalator where no one has a clue what’s awaiting at the top. I don’t see how Ukraine can “win” (they have already lost in every humanitarian sense of the word) without US/NATO troops/jets/bombs flooding the zone. What’s at the top, Mr. Blinken is at best a country, its people and creatures blown to shreds (horrific though it is), and at worst, nuclear annihilation and the nuclear winter that follows as the world suffers and starves. But by-god, we didn’t let Putin win!

  34. Francis Lee
    February 26, 2023 at 05:03

    There was never any possibility of Ukraine winning this war. Apparently the chastened Europeans – excluding the brain-dead Brits,Poles and Baltics – seem to be abandoning any pretence of a ‘victory’. This seems a more realist perspective and is beginning to have a sobering affect in Europe. The Russians are now calling the shots and the West had better start to listen. It is difficult to assess what the Russian position will be. Perhaps a push to the river Dnieper or all the way to Lviv, home of the Bandera-Shukhevych duo. Or perhaps an Austrian agreement whereby Austria accepted and its subordinated position. On May 15, 1955, representatives of the governments of the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States, and France signed a treaty that granted Austria independence and arranged for the withdrawal of all occupation forces. These governments signed the agreement with the understanding that the newly independent state of Austria would declare its neutrality, creating a buffer zone between the East and the West. The Austrian State Treaty was the only treaty signed by both the Soviet Union and United States in the decade after the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties.

  35. Altruist
    February 26, 2023 at 04:41

    Of course, Macron and Scholz would somehow like to get the Ukraine war finished, as the countries are geographically close to the battlefield and are being economically impacted, but their opinions don’t count for much – Macron is no DeGaulle or even Francois Fillon, and Scholz is unable to take a bathroom break without approval from his master in Washington.

    More relevant is what Biden and his gang of three – Nuland, Sullivan, Blinken – want. And Biden doesn’t do anything in the foreign policy realm without considering the domestic political implications (note Sullivan’s role as Clinton campaign advisor and one of the creators of the Russiagate canard). Witness the non-renewal of the Iran nuclear treaty, policy toward Venezuela, Cuba etc., where Biden always had his wet finger in the air to determine which way the wind was blowing.

    Looming large are the 2024 presidential elections in the USA (also in Russia, but the Russian elections don’t play such a big role). The question is whether Biden will ramp up the conflict to gain votes as a wartime president, or whether this will backfire with a public fed up of war – with Biden suffering a fate similar to one of the other presidents he most greatly resembles – Lyndon Johnson, also a warmonger abroad and a liberal at home (the others being Harry Truman, whose Korean War had subsided by 1952 but did not have the momentum to get reelected, and George W. Bush, whose public soured on his wars over time).

    Donald Trump is already gearing up for an attempted comeback as a peace candidate. The main difference between now and 1968 is the lack of a draft and direct US military participation through troops on the ground, so voters aren’t afraid of their loved ones (or themselves) coming back in body bags. But if we get close to a nuclear conflagration this could concentrate and change peoples’ minds.

    • Hoolo
      February 26, 2023 at 17:07

      LBJ was arguably the most progressive president in history, certainly top three. Even considering both of their warmongering, saying Biden greatly resembles him is absurd.

      I agree with the rest of your post, but that part is too head-scratching to pass over.

      • Altruist
        February 27, 2023 at 05:04

        LBJ was an aggressive warmonger, who could well have had a hand in the removal of his predecessor. OK, he may have had a progressive “guns and butter” domestic policy, but that pales in view of getting the USA bogged down in Vietnam – which resulted in the deaths of around 3 million Vietnamese and a large number of Americans. Overlooking such matters could allow one to say that a certain German leader of the mid-20th century did a great job getting rid of unemployment, building the Autobahns etc.

  36. Cynic
    February 26, 2023 at 01:32

    Privately admitting one thing while openly declaring another, that is the definition of hypocrisy. Western governments are liars and hypocrites, and therefore cannot be trusted.

  37. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    February 26, 2023 at 01:02

    This is a timely write-up by Lauria presenting the crux of the geopolitical dilemma in Ukraine. Ironically both the rivalistic parties using Ukraine as a proxy confrontational theatre are bent on the perpetuating war in pursuit of even peace !

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